The reaction of nitric oxide (NO) and superoxide results in the formation of peroxynitrite, a potent and relatively long-lived oxidant. In infectious diseases, these molecules are not only bactericidal but also toxic to host cells. Chorioamnionitis is often complicated by premature rupture of membranes and can be associated with placental abruption. These diseases are significant causes of premature low-birth-weight deliveries and consequently the morbidity and mortality of neonates. Lipopolysaccharide, bacterial endotoxin, is known to be elevated in the amniotic fluid of patients with chorioamnionitis. Lipopolysaccharide is known to induce the formation of NO and superoxide. We report here that nitrite/nitrate, stable metabolites of NO, were increased in serum from patients with chorioamnionitis. Immunohistochemical studies demonstrated enhanced expression of inducible NO synthase and formation of nitrotyrosine, a footprint of peroxynitrite, in the placentae from patients with chorioamnionitis and also in patients with placental abruption. Furthermore, apoptotic cell death was also increased in the placentae from patients with both diseases. These results suggest that chorioamnionitis and a portion of placental abruption may share a common cascade of placental injury. Nitric oxide and its metabolites may play an important role in this cascade.
- Interleukin-1β-converting enzyme (ICE)
- Placental abruption
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Reproductive Medicine
- Obstetrics and Gynaecology